Tuesday, November 21, 2006

MORE PICS – MICROCHIP ROBBERY; 20 came, 4 as RELA MEMBERS; Drugged 17 in BAX GLOBAL (Penang) - Carted 2 Containers CHIPS & ACC=RM47 M (US12.7 Mil)

UPDATE: 4th Dec 2006
BETTER Late Than NEVER7 STOP-GAP Measures to TIGHTEN Security AT FREE Commercial Zones; SECURITY FIRM with ARMED PERSONNEL Appointed;From 7am to 7pm. EFFECTIVE Measure?? When RM50 Mln Robbery Took place at 2.15am

Believe it or NOT by virtue of the fact that the RM50 million robbery took place in the MASKARGO Complex, that the Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy had to chair the meeting to bring out these 7 Stop-Gap measures. An the greatest joke is that appointing a security firm that provide armed services from 7am to 7 pm daily when the heist actually took place in the early hours of the morning at 2.15 am precisely. So is this measure effective? Too expensive for a 24-hour guard??

The Datuk is too busy has too many things on his hands. He is involved in the recent Ferry disaster and the 3 LRT accidents and has announced ALL the findings would be made public (as demanded by Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye) but NOT a single one on the LRT has been disclosed even though the first report has been submitted. What is going on at the Transport Ministry? Op Sikap is still on?

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Maskargo security guards to have more powers; News Update by The Star News Desk ; Saturday December 2, 2006

PENANG: Maskargo security personnel will soon be given auxiliary police powers to help beef up security, especially at the second cargo complex in Penang following the recent RM47mil microchip heist there, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy when visiting the complex this morning.

Tightened Airport Security Among Immediate Measures, Says Chan; December 02, 2006 16:14 PM

PENANG, Dec 2 (Bernama) -- Beefing up security at airports, especially at the free commercial zones, is among seven immediate measures announced by the Transport Ministry Saturday to check lax security at the country's gateways. Announcing the measures, which would take effect immediately,

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy (above right)said they include instructing MASKargo to appoint a security firm whose personnel would be equipped with firearms to guard the zones for 12 hours from 7am to 7pm daily. "The MASKargo security personnel will also mount stringent checks and scrutiny at all entry and exit points at the zones," he told reporters. Chan said the police would install a hotline linking the MASKargo security base with the Customs office, the state police contingent headquarters and the nearest district police headquarters besides conducting patrols at the cargo complex area. The MASKargo security had been asked to provide police the names of security pass holders for security vetting, he said, adding that the police would also set up a beat base at the free commercial zone. Chan said since the Free Commercial Zone here was under the supervision of Malaysia Airlines (MASKargo), MAS had been asked to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at all entry-exit points to the zone. Other long-term measures to be taken include appointing MAS security personnel as auxiliary policemen vested with police powers and equipped with firearms. "The long-term measures will be implemented between three and six months and an intercom system will also be installed between the delivery agents' warehouse and at all the checkpoints at the Free Commercial Zone," he said. Stressing that the government regretted the Nov 20 microchip heist worth millions of ringgit from the warehouse in Batu Maung, he was confident a similar incident would not recur with the additional security measures put in place. "With the stringent checks now, there will be no compromise on security," he added. In the robbery, a 20-member gang, including four clad in Rela uniform, carted away two containers laden with computer microchips worth about RM50 million. Police have recovered the empty containers. They believe the microchips are still in the country.

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: 1st Dec 2006
POLICE “on wild goose chase” on the STOLEN Microchips? Clueless and Without Tips Seek Interpol & Aseanpol for HELP & Believe Chips are Within Malaysia IF “Operasi Samudera Gagah” is effective. WHY NOT Offer a RM 1 Million REWARD to get the proper lead?

AFter 10 days, it looks like the police are running around in circles trying to catch the masterminds of this daring robbery. So far they seem to be taking a lot of potshots, arresting the likely “suspects”, remanded them and releasing them. So far 12 arrested and 8 released and more to come.
Without any positive leads and information, they will be arresting “other people” to try their luck. They can only believe (with the help of Operasi Samudera Gagah”) the chips are still being hidden somewhere within the country and they cannot find them in Imbi plaza or
Low Yat Plaza; so where have they gone? Not in China yet and as they have not surfaced there.

Perhaps our police are NOT high tech enough to monitor the cell phone chatter going on immediately after the robbery and employ other multi-media means. What about informers? No contacts with them? An also no offer NO REWARDS for this RM50 miiion heist?

So it looks like the robbery was a futile attempt as the goods are NOT easily disposable as ALL the microchips especially the CPU (Central p\processing units) are properly coded and marked.

Police Believe Stolen Microchips Still In The Country; November 30, 2006 21:41 PM

PENANG, Nov 30 (Bernama) -- Police believe the microchips and central processing units (CPUs) valued at about RM50 million, which were stolen from a cargo complex in Batu Maung on Nov 20, are still in Malaysia.

Bukit Aman CID director Datuk Christopher Wan Soo Kee (ABOVE)said the conclusion was made based on information received from the Interpol and Aseanpol. "The Interpol and Aseanpol have been assisting us to monitor the entry and exit points in the Asian countries. They will inform us if they succeed in tracing the loot," he told reporters here Thursday. Thursday, three more people were remanded for seven days to assist in police investigation. Nine others were remanded but eight have been released. Wan said police will continue to track down the robbers and trace the whereabout of the missing microchips and CPUs. He said the heist was well planned and executed. Twenty robbers, four of them posing as Rela members, stormed the cargo complex at 2.15pm on Nov 20 and drugged the workers before carting away two containers laden with microchips and CPUs. On Nov 25, the two containers were found empty and abandoned on a street behind empty shop blocks at Taman Idaman, Simpang Empat in Nibong Tebal. Wan urged the freight forwarders to participate in safety and security seminars so that they can provide better protection for container goods. "The microchip robbery showed that there are weaknesses in their security system which must be rectified by all concerned," he said.
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Police Seek Interpol Help To Trace Stolen Microchips; November 30, 2006 18:51 PM

KUALA TERENGGANU, Nov 30 (Bernama) -- Malaysia has asked for Interpol's help to trace microchips and computer mother boards worth more than RM40 million that were carted away from an air cargo complex at Batu Maung, Penang on Nov 20. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said that Interpol had been alerted about the heist and police in all the neighbouring countries were assisting Malaysian police to trace the stolen goods. He said this to reporters after making a visit to the Terengganu police contingent headquarters here Thursday. Musa expressed confidence that the stolen items would be recovered and did not discount more arrests would be made in connection with the case.

ABOVE & BELOW: The Three newly arrested suspects

In PENANG, three more men were remanded Thursday in connection with the heist, bringing the total number of suspects arrested so far over the case to 12. State CID Chief SAC II Abdul Samah Mat said that the Balik Pulau Magistrate's Court had ordered the three men, aged between 27 and 46 years who did not have any permanent jobs, to be remanded for one week until Dec 6. The trio were arrested in Bagan Dalam, Butterworth in the early hours of Thursday morning, he said when contacted Thursday.

He also said that a 25-year-old suspect (ABOVE) remanded for one week over the case was released Thursday after police found he was not involved. This brings to eight the number of suspects released so far over the case. Police had earlier arrested nine suspects after the heist but as of Monday seven of them had been released. Twenty robbers, four disguised as People's Volunteer Reserve (Rela) members, gained entry into complex at about 2.15 am and assaulted and drugged the workers there before carting away the items from a bonded warehouse belonging to an air delivery company.

Two More Microchip Robbery Suspects Released; November 29, 2006 21:42 PM

PENANG, Nov 29 (Bernama) -- Police Wednesday released two of four men still on remand to assist investigations into the Nov 20 robbery of microchips worth millions of ringgit at the Air Cargo Complex in Batu Maung here. State CID Chief SAC II Abdul Samah Mat said the duo, both in their 40s, were released unconditionally as they were found not to be involved in the case. He said the remaining two would be remanded until Dec 2. Police detained nine men over the robbery. Five of them were released over Sunday and Monday. Meanwhile, an integrated maritime operation, codenamed " ", involving several agencies in the Straits of Melaka since Nov 24 is also keeping watch for quarters which might attempt to smuggle the stolen microchips out of the country by sea. Maritime Enforcement Coordination Centre Deputy Director ACP Zainudin Mohd Tahir said the agencies involved in the operation included the police, Customs, Royal Malaysian Air Force, Immigration Department and the Fisheries Department.

No Rela Members Involved In Microchip Heist; November 29, 2006 17:25 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 (Bernama) -- The Home Affairs Ministry today said that no People's Volunteer Reserve (Rela) members were involved in the RM50-million microchips heist at the air cargo complex in Batu Maung, Penang on Nov 20. Its Parliamentary Secretary Datuk Paduka Abdul Rahman Ibrahim said investigations had found that some of the men who took part in the robbery had disguised themselves as Rela members by wearing the Rela uniform. "The Rela uniform can can be obtained from almost anywhere. Anyone can make it at home because its colour is very common," he said during the question-and-answer session in the Dewan Rakyat Wednesday. Four of the twenty robbers who gained entry into the complex at 2.15am on Nov 20 had worn Rela uniforms.

Abdul Rahman also said the government would continue to train and guide Rela officers to prevent them from abusing their authority. "Thus far, the level of discipline among Rela members is very high,?????????????" he said. Meanwhile, Abdul Rahman revealed that the country had 463,097 Rela members as of Sept this year. He also said that the government would soon provide a second set of uniform for Rela members who are active. "In terms of allowance, we will only pay them when they attend training," he added.

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MORE Pictures: RM50 Million Microchips ROBBERY: Containers Used In Microchips Robbery Stolen Last September; Container Chassis Altered; ENGINE NO: Remains; Police Baffled: WHERE have ALL the CHIPS GONE?

ABOVE & BELOW: The "Bomb Detector Robot" was used to determine if the containers were "bobby trapped"

UPDATE: Monday, 27th Nov 2006, More pics loaded, the bomb robot;

One Of Two Containers Used In Microchips Robbery Stolen Last September;

November 26, 2006 23:25 PM NIBONG TEBAL, Nov 26 (Bernama) -- Police confirmed that one of the two container lorries used in the RM50-million microchips robbery at the Batu Maung Air Cargo Complex last Monday was stolen last September.

The container lorry, which had been repainted white with the container chassis number altered, had been reported missing in Dengkil, Selangor, said Penang CID Chief SAC II Abdul Samah Mat.

The lorry, which bore the name of Lee Ting San Lorry Transports Sdn Bhd with the address in Bayan Lepas, was actually registered under the name of a different company in Jalan Simpang, Taiping, Perak, he said. Abdul Samah said police were still checking to determine whether the second container lorry, which had also been repainted white and had the container chassis number altered, was also stolen as there was no missing report. The container lorry also bore the name of Lee Ting San Lorry Transports Sdn Bhd but was actually registered under the name of a different company in Sungai Chua, Selangor. Police yesterday found two container lorries with registration plates PGG 7026 and PGF 5806 abandoned in Taman Idaman, Simpang Ampat, here. They were empty.

ABOVE: Checks on the engine chassis revealed no change; only the body chassis number has been altered; BELOW: A bolt cutter had to be used to cut open the lock

Tests by police revealed that the engine number and chassis number on the front part of the vehicles were intact while the chassis number on the containers had been altered. Police believe the containers were repainted white about a month ago. In the robbery last Monday, 20 men, four disguised in the uniform of the People's Volunteer Corps (Rela), broke through security at the air cargo complex and escaped with two containers of microchips

The MAS Cargo Complex in Batu Maung, Penang

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Stolen trucks may have been used; Monday November 27, 2006, STAR Account

PENANG: One of the two container trucks believed to have been used in the US$12.7mil (RM47mil) microchip heist at the Batu Maung Free Commercial Zone here was reported stolen from Dengkil, Selangor. The owner had lodged a police report on the stolen vehicle on Sept 21. The other truck was also found to have been stolen, but police have yet to get details. The two trucks believed to have been used to transport the stolen microchips from the Second Air Cargo Complex on Nov 20 were found dumped at Lorong Kendi Tujuh, Taman Merak in Simpang Empat, at 11.30am last Saturday. State CID chief Senior Asst Comm (II) Abdul Samah Mat said yesterday that the original colour and name of the container truck from Selangor had been altered. He said a check showed that the stolen truck had a forged registration plate PGG 7026. The trailer belonged to a Perak-based transportation company called Seng Huat and police identified the vehicle after verifying the chassis number, he added. “We are still waiting for a thorough report from our counterparts at the Kajang police headquarters to identify the contents kept in the container before it was stolen,” he said. On Nov 20, more than 20 robbers entered the cargo complex and made off with the microchips and motherboards.

The robbers loaded the microchips into two containers before escaping. SAC Abdul Samah said the police had found that the other truck also had false registration plate PGF 5806, adding that they had yet to verify the address and other details. The Chemistry Department and a police forensics team have been called in to assist in investigations. The team has to scratch out the container’s paint to identify the actual address of the trailer,” he added. He said that the police had also contacted the Road Transport Department to verify the chassis and engine numbers. So far, nine suspects have been arrested to assist in the investigations. On why the CCTV camera failed to capture the containers’ image on Penang Bridge, SAC Abdul Samah said time factor and the weaknesses of the camera should be taken into account in this incident.

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UPDATE: 25th Nov 2006

MORE Pictures: RM50 Million ROBBERY- STOLEN CONTAINERS FOUND (But Empty) in Lorong Kendi 7; Taman Idaman, Simpang Empat, Seberang Perai Selatan & As USUAL TRANSPORT MINISTER Starts BARKING AFTER an INCIDENT & it will be in the FERRY Accident

On record, the Transport Minister is clueless and ineffective (maybe good in Chinese Studies, his major) and paled by comparison to health Minister (Datuk Dr Chua So Lek, a qualified Medical Doctor). Datuk Ong Tee Kiat (a Mechanical Engineer would be a better replacement in the Transport Ministry).

A F T E R EVERY Big Accident or Incident, he would start giving Orders & Deadlines demanding REPORTS and Suggestions and forget about them. Can anyone bother to ask him his bold declaration that the LRT incidents would be made public? (see previous post). His announcement that Motor cyclist would be required to purchase additional crash helmets (see previous post) etc etc. His U-turn in the appointment of a foreign consultant for the LRT investigations. His “messed up” MAS rationalization plans for domestic routes and the joke of it all is at the recent Aviation meeting in Singapore, he was handed an award.

Transport Minister Datuk seri Chan Kong Choy: “I have directed the Deputy Sec general of the Transport Ministry to call a meeting involving MAS and freight forwarders, warehouse owners & MAB so as to relook into the whole security system and come back with a totalsecurity enhancement system.”

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Stolen Containers Found, Microchips Still Missing, Says Penang CPO; November 25, 2006 17:14 PM

PENANG, Nov 25 (Bernama) -- Two microchip-laden containers stolen from a warehouse in Batu Maung here on Monday have been found but minus the loot worth millions of ringgit.

ABOVE & BELOW: The lane in which the containers were found; newly constructed shoplots but unoccupied. The Police should have opend UP all these shoplots and determine whether the misising microchips have been hidden inside

The empty containers were found abandoned at Lorong Kendi 7 in Taman Idaman, Simpang Empat, Seberang Perai Selatan.

State Police Chief Datuk Koh Hong Sun said the containers were found at about 3pm Friday following a public tip-off. However, a check on the containers revealed the RM50 million worth of microchips were missing. Forensic officers are tracing for evidence in the containers to assist in investigations, he told a press conference today. He said a bomb disposal unit opened the containers to ensure there were no explosives inside. "Only a two feet-long green parang sheath was found in one of the containers," he said. Meanwhile, a road sweeper, Azhar Najamudin, 36, said the containers were not at Lorong Kendi 7 when he was working in the area from 8am to noon yesterday. However, when he started work at 8am today, he found the containers parked at a lane between a row of newly completed unoccupied shophouses. In the 2.15am heist, 20 robbers, including four clad in Rela uniform, stormed into the Batu Maung Commercial Air Cargo Complex, and assaulted the warehouse workers before carting away the containers. Nine suspects have been remanded in connection with the robbery.
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Police Believe Stolen Microchips Still In The Country; November 25, 2006 21:37 PM

NIBONG TEBAL, Nov 25 (Bernama) -- Police believe the computer microchips and equipment worth RM50 million stolen from the Batu Maung Commercial Air Cargo Complex are still in the country.

CID Director Datuk Christopher Wan Soo Kee said that though the two containers found in Taman Idaman, Simpang Empat, Seberang Perai Selatan here today were empty, police were confident the stolen goods have not been taken out of the country. He told reporters the special team comprising Bukit Aman and Penang police was still trying to locate the goods. "We are stepping up the investigation and will be conducting raids to track down those responsible for the heist," he added.

Wan said the discovery of the two empty containers in Lorong Kendi 7, Taman Idaman posed a bigger challenge to the police force. He said that based on the condition of the containers, they were believed to have been stolen and given new coats of white paint and have the name "Lee Ting San Lorry Transport Sdn Bhd" pasted on using dark blue tape. The company address was listed as 103-E, Lengkok Kampung Jawa 2, 11800 Bayan Lepas, Penang and painted in black on the doors. Wan said that when found, the containers still had the registration plates PGG 7026 and PGF 5806 used during the robbery. The police were tracing the registration plates with the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to identify the owners of the containers and were also checking the chassis numbers on the lorries and containers.

"We believe that the robbers painted the lorries and containers before committing the robbery," he added. Wan said the two container lorries were abandoned in the area as it was quiet as the shops there have yet to open for business. The containers were found at 3 pm after a tip-off from the public. Police monitored the situation for sometime before forcing the containers open. Wan said the first container was opened at 11.30 am and the second at 1.20 pm. Both containers were empty. Also present was Penang Police Chief Datuk Koh Hong Sun. In the robbery at 2.15 am last Monday, 20 robbers including four in Rela uniform broke through security and attacked workers at the cargo complex before escaping with the microchips in two containers.

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UPDATE 24 Nov 06

Microchips Heist: One More Suspect Remanded Friday; November 24, 2006 19:24 PM PENANG, Nov 24 (Bernama) -- One more suspect was remanded Friday to assist the police in their investigation into the RM50-million microchip heist at the Air Cargo Complex in Batu Maung here on Monday, bringing to nine the number detained so far.

ABOVE & BELOW: Another Suspect detained bringing a Total of NINE

The Balik Pulau Magistrate's Court allowed the police to remand the suspect, a 25-year-old worker at the complex, for seven days until Nov 30. According to a police spokesman, the man was detained at his work place at about 6.45pm Thursday. Thursday, two men, aged 33 and 55, were remanded in connection with the case while another six were remanded over Tuesday and Wednesday, including a 48-year-old security guard working at the complex. In the 2.15am heist, about 20 robbers, including four in Rela uniform, made off with microchips and computer parts estimated to be worth about RM50 million from a bonded warehouse at the complex after subduing 17 workers who were there at that time.= = = = = = = = =

UPDATE 23 Nov 06
TWO MORE Suspects detained a Total of EIGHT

Two More Suspects Remanded Over Microchips Heist; November 23, 2006 20:10 PM

PENANG, Nov 23 (Bernama) -- Two more men (see Below) were remanded today in connection with the RM50-million microchips heist at the air cargo complex in Batu Maung here on Monday, bringing to eight the total number of suspects remanded so far over the case.

At the Balik Pulau Magistrate's court, a 53 year-old suspect was ordered to be remanded until Nov 29, while at the Georgetown Magistrate's court, a 33-year-old man was ordered to be remanded until Dec 5. The older suspect was arrested in Balik Pulau at 12.45pm yesterday while the younger one, believed to be also involved in a drug case, was picked up in Jalan Penang at about 10pm last night. Yesterday, two men, aged 26 and 48, were remanded over the case. On Tuesday, four others aged between 25 and 35, were remanded for five days to assist in the police investigation. On Monday, a group of 20 armed robbers, four of them clad in Rela uniform, entered the cargo complex at about 2.15am and assaulted and drugged the 17 people present there before carting away microchips worth about RM50 million from the bonded warehouse of an air delivery compan

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MORE Suspects detained a Total of Six (below another two)

Update 2: Nov 23 06; 7:33 am

And from the Senior Manager, MASKargo

Maskargo Senior Manager Datuk Ong Jyh Jong,: I cannot comment on it. I can only say this to you. Investigation is not complete and who is responsible for it. Then if we are very sure; then I think we have to own up. whoever is responsible. If we are then we own up.

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Koh Certain Investors' Confidence Will Return; November 23, 2006 00:22 AM

PENANG, Nov 23 (Bernama) -- Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said he was certain that investors' confidence in the state would return following the steps taken to beef up security at ports and airports. He said that the quick action on damage control and an explanation on the microchips heist at the Batu Maung air cargo complex on Monday had reassured investors that the security situation in the state was under control. He added that although security was important, the main criteria which drew investors were the state's competitive edge, the capability of the workforce and the market situation in South-East Asia. Speaking to reporters after launching the state-level Integrity Month 2006 here Wednesday, he said that investors and businessmen who used the Penang International Airport to send their goods out had expressed concern about the robbery. Businessmen who were operating at the Penang Free Trade Zone (Frepenca) area had, through the chairman of their association, Mohd Sofi Osman, asked for more security measures, he said. Koh said he was concerned because a major trade delegation from the US arrived in Penang the same day the robbery took place. He said he was thankful because the trade delegation accepted his explanation on the true security situation in the state. "They accepted our explanation and we have done damage control quickly. They also said the important aspects besides security were competitiveness, workforce and the economy," he said. Koh said he had explained the situation to International Trade and Industry Minister (MITI), Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz.

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Batu Maung Complex Authorities Given One Week To Upgrade Security; November 22, 2006 21:25 PM

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 22 (Bernama) -- Those responsible for security at the Batu Maung Air Cargo Complex in Penang have been given one week to come up with a comprehensive proposal to upgrade the entire security system in the Free Commercial Zone area. Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said the parties involved should stop pointing fingers at each other and sit down together to thoroughly review the process there. "The government is disappointed the incident took place... apparently there were shortcomings in terms of security at the zone. Finger pointing must stop and immediate measures taken to enhance security there," told reporters after chairing his ministry's post-cabinet meeting, here. The directive was issued following the RM47-million computer microchips heist at the MASKargo Complex in the zone on Monday.

Chan said the Cabinet was concerned over the issue and had directed that immediate action be taken. He said that a committee led by the ministry's officials and comprising the stake holders, freight forwarders, Malaysia Airlines (MAS), Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) and Customs had been been set up to look into suggestions to enhance security at the complex made by Penang Police Chief Datuk Koh Hong Sun.

He had suggested that MAS security personnel at the two air cargo complexes near the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas be given auxiliary police powers and also be allowed to carry firearms. "In this case, because the authority appointed by the Treasury to look after security in the Free Commercial Zone is MAS, so the security guards were not armed. "I think it is high time that they should look into it (the suggestions) seriously. That would be very helpful to enhance the security system," Chan said. Chan also wanted to see the Electronic Declaration system, which had been introduced by MAS to facilitate freight forwarding, be implemented as soon as possible.

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Update 1
: Nov 22 06;
6:20 am

It is just TOO MUCH for the Maskargo Senior Manager Datuk Ong Jyh Jong, in an exclusive interview with TV3 to say that TIPS or the information given Must have specifics. Heads should roll over this lack of ACTION.

We are only in charge of perimeter fencing & the gate control. What is inside the complex, the properties we don’t own them, the people who works inside there; we don’t employ them. They have control over the gates, doors, the locks and the people they work. In the complex, if the goods are in our own control, we have the responsibility not only over the movement of the goods but the security. But it is not under our custody, obviously there is NOTHING much we can do.

There was in fact a message to say that there might be an event to take place in KLIA or Penang cargo Complex. Obviously, our security chief did receive the message and he informed and briefed his security personnel. I would like to emphasis that a message like this when NOTHING is SPECIFIC, it is really hard to take effective action, because it can happen in KL or Penang cargo Complex. Unless you have dates and times, then perhaps we can take better or more effective action”

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MASKargo, MAB Told To Step Up Security; November 22, 2006 01:39 AM

PENANG, Nov 22 (Bernama) -- MASKargo and Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAB) have been told to step-up security measures at the air cargo complex here to prevent anyone from breaking into the area in future. State Police Chief Datuk Koh Hong Sun said the two companies should take immediate action to rectify weaknesses in security measures at the complex. He said that a special meeting was held with the management of the two companies on Tuesday and they had identified several weaknesses in security in the area. Speaking to reporters here yesterday, he suggested that the security guards at the complex be supplied with firearms.

"Patrols of the area should also be carried more frequently to beef up security there," he said. Koh said CCTVs should also be installed in and outside the guardhouse as well as at the surrounding areas. "The guards should record personal details or identities of those entering and leaving the complex," he added. In Monday's incident, a group of 20 robbers, four of whom were wearing the uniform of the People's Voluntary Corps (RELA), entered the cargo complex at Batu Maung and staged the nation's biggest heist. They broke into a bonded warehouse belonging to an air delivery service company at the complex, located near the Penang International Airport, and drove away with two containers of computer parts and chips estimated to be worth RM50 million.

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Security Guard Among Four Men Held In RM50 Mln Microchip Theft;

November 21, 2006 17:27 PM
PENANG, Nov 21 (Bernama) -- Four suspects, including a man, believe to be a security guard, have been detained in connection with yesterday's theft of two container trailers laden with microchips worth about RM50 million from the second Batu Maung Free Commercial Zone Complex. State police chief Datuk Koh Hong Sun said one of them was arrested at a house in Tanah Merah, Kelantan, at 3am while the other three at their homes here Monday night. The three men detained in Penang had been remanded for five days to facilitate investigations into the robbery said to be the country's biggest ever heist of computer chips, he told a press conference. The suspects were produced in the Balik Pulau magistrate's court to obtain the remand order while the man detained in Kelantan was being brought to Penang for further investigations, he said. Bernama learnt that of one the suspects is a security guard. Koh said police have yet to establish whether the suspects were "insiders".

The suspects detained and remanded

"Nevertheless, we know more or less the people involved and we are working on it," he said. With the cooperation of various parties including the Police Air Wing and Marine Police and by mounting roadblocks, a massive manhunt had been launched to track down the robbers who fled with the containers. All airports and ports in the country have been alerted on the theft and their cooperation sought to trace the containers' movements. "We are seeking the cooperation of those who have information on the theft including the claim by a local newspaper that plans about the robbery was known earlier," he said. He advised the media not to make any assumption on the case including on the actual number of microchips stolen and its worth as the robbery was still under investigations and would be brought to court later. Koh said a comprehensive investigation would be carried out to ascertain whether insiders were involved and the robbery was planned in cohorts with personnel using the Rela uniform.

He said police have also roped in the Interpol to assist in investigations. A Rela spokesman said investigations are underway to determine whether Rela members were involved based on the use of the Rela uniform by the robbers. "So far, we've no information on the involvement of our personnel in the heist," he said. Meanwhile, Northern Region Marine Police commander ACP Zainol Abidin Hassan said all the 16 boats patrolling the waters in the northern region from Langkawi to Port Klang have been alerted about the heist and ordered to check on suspected ships, boats and sampans. He said marine policemen have been ordered to be on the look-out for boats leaving the Penang territorial waters. "So far we've not receive any information on boats or fishermen sampans hired by certain parties which might be involved in the theft," he said.

It would take between five to six hours to reach the country's border by using the sea route as compared to by road, he added. In the 2.15am incident yesterday, two container trailers driven by men in Rela uniform did not raise any suspicion when they arrived at the complex.The "Rela personnel" told the customs officers manning the checkpoint that they were there to flush out illegal workers and instructed them not to alert the people inside the complex. Once they were inside the complex, the four bogus Rela men opened the doors of the containers and out leapt more than 20 robbers armed with parang.

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Warehouse Robbery: Two Containers Of Microchips Stolen
November 20, 2006 21:00 PM

ABOVE & BELOW: The targeted Warehouse BAX Global, an air freight forwarding agency in MASKARGO Complex Penang

PENANG, Nov 20 (Bernama) -- Four robbers entered a warehouse, forced 17 workers there to drink a type of liquid and when they passed out, drove away with two containers of microchips said to be worth millions of ringgit.

ABOVE & BELOW: The workers at BAX Global could only talk about the well executed robbery to the Police after regaining consciousness

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ABOVE: CPO Pulau Pinang was embarassed to relate this robbery: "We don't know the exact cost, maybe several millions Ringgit. They also removed the CCTV cameras"

State police chief Datuk Koh Hung Sun said the incident happened at about 2 am at a bonded warehouse in Batu Maung, which belonged to an air delivery service company. He said the robbers, dressed in the uniform of the People's Volunteer Corps (Rela), were believed to have entered the warehouse unnoticed by hiding in two trailers. "They were armed with parangs and assaulted the workers before forcing them to drink the liquid," he told reporters here Monday. He said the incident happened when the workers, who included two officers from Malaysia Airlines Berhad and two Customs officers, were checking the cargo belonging to Bax Global. Police believe the robbers were locals, aged between 22 and 40 years. Koh said the robbers also took the closed-circuit-television cameras that were installed at the premises. He said all the workers sustained cuts and bruises and were given outpatient treatment at the Penang Hospital. Koh said a special committee had been formed to probe the case.

ABOVE & BELOW: The workers suffered bruises and were given outpatient in the Pulau Pinang Hospital

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PM Wants No Stone Unturned In Probe Into Microchip Robbery In Penang; November 20, 2006 21:15 PM By Muin Abdul Majid

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 20 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wants police to immediately track down and arrest the robbers involved in the theft of millions of ringgit worth of microchips from an air cargo complex in Penang early Monday. The Prime Minister said that he had conveyed this to Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and had urged the police to leave no stone unturned in their investigations. "The police must investigate if insiders had been involved. All angles must be examined as to how this could have happened," Abdullah, who is also Internal Security Minister, told Bernama here Monday. He expressed disappointment over the apparent lax security and the fact that police were not immediately informed about the theft. Penang police said the robbers dressed in People Volunteer Corps (Rela) uniforms assaulted 17 people, including Customs officers at the bonded warehouse, before carting away the microchips from the facility in Batu Maung not far from the Bayan Lepas International Airport.

The prime minister stressed that those in charge of the facility must enhance security controls in the area to prevent similar incidents from happening. Abdullah described the tardiness in alerting the police about the microchip robbery as tantamount to a dereliction of duty on the part of those in charge of security at the cargo complex. The robbers, believed to number four and armed with parangs, struck at 2am when Customs, Malaysians Airlines Berhad personnel and workers at the warehouse totalling 17 people, were checking the microchips that were kept in two containers.

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and the STAR Report
A very well-planned job; Tuesday November 21, 2006

PENANG: Two container trailers driven by men in Rela uniform did not raise any suspicion when they arrived at the MASKargo Complex in Batu Maung here at 2.15am yesterday. The “Rela personnel” told the two Customs officers manning the checkpoint that they were there to flush out illegal workers and instructed them not to alert the people inside the complex. Once the “Trojan horses” were in the complex, the four bogus Rela men opened the doors of the containers and out leapt more than 20 robbers armed with parang.

The first thing they did was to round up the 17 people in the area, including the two Customs officers and two Malaysia Airport Bhd personnel. To neutralise the threat of a fight-back, the robbers plied their captives with chloroform. Some were forced to drink a white solution which caused them to vomit. Anyone still standing was beaten with sticks. With the workers under guard, the rest of the robbers set to work on the microchips. In just an hour, they piled 585 cartons and 18 pallets of microchips and motherboards manufactured by a multi-national company in Bayan Lepas into the containers. The loot estimated to be worth US$12.7mil (RM46.99mil) was said to be the country’s biggest ever heist. And arguably the most audacious, too.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was in Putrajaya, was livid when informed of the robbery. The Prime Minister was very angry over the lack of security. Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon who inspected the complex later in the evening said two suspects had been arrested but declined to give details. It is learnt that the suspects were workers at the complex. State police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Koh Hong Sun told a press conference that police got a call at 3.40am. “The robbers also took with them footage of the robbery from the closed-circuit TV cameras,” he said. DCP Koh said the victims were not seriously injured and all have been discharged after treatment at the Penang Hospital. One of the victims was the driver of a courier company van, who showed up at the complex while the robbery was in progress.

The 25-year-old driver, who wanted to be known only as Kumar, said two men in green uniforms complete with berets at the checkpoint ordered him to get out of his van. “I was a bit slow in getting down and one of them suddenly smashed my windscreen with his baton. They then dragged me out and beat me up. “They did not sound local ... most probably from out of state,” he said at the hospital. A source said the first of several batches of the computer chips was delivered to the warehouse on Saturday. The last shipment was at 12.30am yesterday. The consignment was to be sent to the multi-national company’s operations in the Asia-Pacific region, including Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. The source said all indications pointed to an inside job. “The timing was too good. Such information could only be obtained if someone on the inside was working with them,” said the source.

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